Thursday, August 30, 2012

But there's more...

So, what is next? I have been so quiet lately on my journal and blog because of the secret cancan project, that it is a wonder to actually have stuff to post about. The rest of the year looks set to be a full one. And it all begins this weekend:

Saturday 1st September - Regency Ball
Going to pull out my 1823 pink and black ballgown again. I would really like a new regency ballgown but this year it is just not feasible. It's a good thing that I really like the one that I do have.

Friday 7th September - Vintage Fashion Fair
Haven't really planned what I am wearing, but I have quite a few pieces that I can choose from - including the couple of halter dresses that I finished recently.

Saturday 15th September - Gangsters Ball
Dress is made. I managed to get my ACG ball costume ready a day earlier than planned, so I had an extra day of sewing, and knocked over the 1950s dress that I am planning to wear. Now I am just waiting for the new sequin shoes to arrive. I thought it all deserved a bit of bling.

Saturday 22nd September - My Birthday
I'm planning a party again, with an M theme, so I am making a couple of costumes for it. My mum is going to be Mother Nature, so I have bought some deep green fabric to make a dress. It will be a regency one so that she is able to wear it again. I am making a couple of accessories for my brother but he has sworn me to secrecy, and as for myself, I am planning to dress as Madoka from Puella Magi Madoka Magica. I do need to hit the fabric shop this weekend so that I can make a start on my costume. I have yet to even draft the pattern, but I do have some leave coming up, so I am not too worried.

Saturday 29th September - Victorian Picnic
My plan is to finish the half started 1870s bustle from last year. I had done all the patterns and mock up, it's cut out and the underskirt is even made. I just need to get cracking on it and finish it. I am using a lovely roll of red/yellow/brown tartan cotton linen and accenting it with red linen and silk. It's a piece I bought a while ago. I had originally seen the fabric for $7.95 / metre and decided that was a bit expensive. The next time I went to the store it was on the $1.99 rack. Needless to say, I bought a bit.

Saturday 6th October - Animania
I haven't been for a few years, but I am planning to check out Animania again this year. I suspect I will be wearing my Madoka costume, but I could be persuaded to wear Saber Lion. I guess it will really depend on the temperature. Saber Lion is made of polar fleece, so while I am cuddly in it, it is extremely warm.

Saturday 13th October - Festival

The ACG have been invited to add atmosphere to a festival (I pimped us out during the Steampunk safari I ran earlier this year). I am thinking the tartan bustle, but I could easily pull out something else. I certainly have plenty to choose from.

Saturday 20th October - Portrait of Spain Exhibition
At the local art gallery, I am organising another trip to view the new exhibition which is apparently amazing. We are dressing in Georgian and Regency, so I am planning to dig out my green jacket and skirt set. I do need to make a new hat for this though, as my previous one met with an unfortunate mud incident at History Alive earlier this year - I was so annoyed, I kinda squished it, so, need a new one.

Then comes supanova in November. I am only planning the one new costume - Lottie from Disney's The Princess and The Frog. I bought the pink taffeta for the dress down in Adelaide on the weekend, so I am determined that it will be ready to wear. I just have to decide on my patterns and draft them up. Not sure what I am getting myself into there - seems like a lot. @__@

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Picnicing in Adelaide

We rounded out our weekend trip to Adelaide with a small open theme costume picnic. There was only a few of us but we had a lovely time catching up - after all, we only get to see each other a few times a year. And especially the lovely Abi, who I only see when I get to Adelaide. I wore my Ariel costume again, as it really was the easiest to pack. Not much to report, but a few photos that I have snagged off one of my friends camera's.
The funniest moment of the day though, was checking through security to the airport while I was still in my Ariel costume. I had completely forgotten that I put steel boning in my corset, and of course it set of the machine. I would have loved a photo, but alas, you will have picture it - Ariel getting that full arms spread pat down at the airport. And I did see one little girl walk past pointing at the little mermaid being pat down. It must have been a sight to see. I was so embarrassed that my blush matched the colour of my wig.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


Well, I am back and able to spill the details now. For the last few months, I have been working on a group project for the ACG Annual Ball (last weekend). Our intention was for an entry into the parade competition. So what we were doing...

Our group was called canquatro and we were going for modern themed interpretations of cancan dancers. There were four of us. My cousin Cherie as The Clockwork Doll (a steampunk inspired ensemble), Wendy as Amaranth (a 1980s goth inspired outfit), Tracey as Sakura (a geisha inspired outfit) and myself as Madame du Pompadour (Georgian inspired). The main reason for the surprise was for our act. Unfortunately, I haven't got a copy of the video, but we had 90 seconds, of which we each had a piece of music to dance to of 20 seconds. This is where everyone was thinking (what on earth are they all doing on stage together - absolutely nothing in common). The final 10 seconds was cancan music where we pick up our skirts and show what links us all together. And by the cheer as we shuffled across the stage, it worked a charm.
As for my costume, I hunted around online for ages trying to come up with my final design, looking at costume stereotypes as well as pulling from my historical knowledge pool. I had tossed around a few other ideas as well in the months leading up to actually beginning. I ended up basing the entire ensemble around my yellow and pink stripe silk open robe that I made last year - with a lot of additions. I have a purple ruffled petticoat underskirt that has 8 ruffles, which is then buttoned to my outerskirt - which is made of taffeta and features a full ruffle with velvet ribbon trimmings, silk ribbon bows and cameos. Both of these are a 8 gore skirt that is a full circle and look fantastic when spinning. Under it all, I had on my Georgian stays, hot pink bloomers with bows and candy, stripped stockings and my American Duchess shoes with ribbon and cookie bling. The open robe got a make-over with lace, fabric ruchings, silk ribbon and flowers. I am actually really happy with how the open robe came up and I know that I will be able to use it in the future, cause it is all completely historically suitable. I also had a few themed rings and some decorated false nails, but the piece de resistance was the wig.
It was made from my white queen wig (which I no longer need) and a pink wig. I stitched the pink into the white to give it a bit more colour and panache. I had to build the wig height onto a frame so that I would be able to support the wooden ship that I had purchased and blinged out. I am incredibly pleased with how the wig turned out and while I had every intention of taking progress shots, I was so focused on getting it done, that I just didn't. (sorry) I finished the entire look off with modern colourful makeup - to help lead away from the overly historical image. We were after all, trying to be anti-historical.
And below are some of the other amazing costumes that were on show for the night.
Believe it or not, I have already decided what I want to do for the ball next year.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Annual Heritage Ball

Last weekend, I attended the Annual Heritage Ball at Morningside. It's something that I have been to for the last four years and it really is a lovely evening out. Being a Heritage Ball, the costume options vary greatly. That afternoon, I ran a hair workshop for the attending members of the Australian Costumer's Guild - this time namely on Victorian hairstyling. I was a bit to busy styling to get any progress photos, but I did make sure that I got shots of the end results.

1830s Apollo Knots Style
1870s Early bustle
1880s Late bustle
My own hair was hidden under a wig again that I had styled the night before. All that I had to do to finish it off was pop in some flowers and a couple of huge white feathers. I am starting to get pretty decent at styling long hair behind me that I can't really see. It was a pretty simple do, but it served the purpose.

As for the costumes, I took my mum and dad along again, so they were all dressed up (and with masks). My mum wore her 1870s pink silk bustle again. We updated her mask with some feathers as a change of pace. As for my Dad, he was in his grey tailed suit, but I had made him a new vest as an early father's day gift. It is made of a chinese brocade that I picked up on sale with purple silk dupion lapels and pocket welts. I even went to the trouble of putting in the pockets. I think the more I do of the wretched things, the better I am getting at them - but they are hideously fiddly.

For me, I decided I wanted to wear my natural form gold bustle, but since I wasn't happy with my original ballgown bodice, I thought I would have another crack. I unpicked all the trimmings and tossed what wasn't usable. Thankfully I still have a good chunk of the gold fabric that I was able to get another bodice out (I still have more of it too). I hunted through a few fashion plates to get a little inspiration, and came up with a new apron and bodice option. The apron is made of some white chiffon that I had in my stash and trimmed with ruffled white silk ribbon (again from stash), and then a couple of pin-on fabric flowers. As for the bodice, I used my day bodice as a base for the pattern as I really like the hem and the neckline on it. This time though, the bodice features deep pleats in the back seams and front lacing. It is also trimmed in the gold lace that I pulled off my old bodice. I was a little disappointed on the night that it was a little too big across the shoulders (I suspect my body has changed from the sword training I have been doing these last few months). We pinned it to hold through, so it's not too bad, and I should be able to fix it.

I had an absolute blast of an evening and danced until I was ready to drop. You can really understand how some of the women stayed fit at the time - between being unable to eat heaps of food due to corset lacing and dancing the nights away, it would be easy to stay in shape. And before you ask, yes those are sparkly hello kitty shoes that I wore with my ballgown - I had forgotten that the shoes I normally wear were tossed after last year and had not replaced them with anything really suitable. I was comfortable at any rate.

Here are some of the other photos from the evening: